Notes and quotes from Pray for the Flock by Brian Croft & Ryan Fullerton.
1. Prayer is a way God’s shepherds protect the flock.
2. “True shepherds love the flock when present with them, and they love the flock when present with no one but God. And one of the ways they show this love is by bringing their needs – known and unknown, tangible and spiritual, individual and congregational – to Jesus the Good Shepherd in prayer.”
3. Prayer is the most difficult aspect of pastoral ministry to maintain.
4. “Those who are not prayed for aren’t aware they are forgotten.”
5. A real danger is going week after week without praying for the church.
6. Prayer should be among your top priorities as a pastor. Why? Not praying for your people is a sin; praying for your people glorifies God; we are called to imitate leaders who pray for their people; praying for your people reflects the priority of the early church; praying for God’s people will lead them to change; and prayer is how ordinary men do extraordinary things for God.
7. “Pastors can never be happy tolerating prayerlessness in their lives.”
8. “To leave God’s people unprayed for is to leave them uncared for, unprovided for, and unled – “like sheep without a shepherd.”
9. “The Christian life is full of trouble. You are either just coming out of trouble, in the midst of trouble, or on your way into trouble.” Trouble gives opportunity to glorify God by praying for help.
10. Prayer is one of “the primary means of promoting the sanctification of God’s people.”
11. Praying with people and pleading on their behalf before the Father are essential aspects of shepherding God’s people.
12. “God’s word leads us to prayer, and prayer leads us to God’s word.”
13. We won’t be motivated to pray unless we have the overwhelming conviction that God alone is the one who can truly help me.
14. “Continually checking our smartphones robs us of time we can devote to prayer.” Set aside undistracted time to pray for our people.
15. It is helpful to have a deliberate system to remind me to pray for my people. Have a list that represents the realistic, active membership roll of the church broken up in 28 days. “After praying for them, I try to make personal contact in the form of a home visit, email, handwritten card, phone call, Facebook note, or text message to let them know I prayed for them on that day.” Following this system will lead to you praying and making contact each month with everyone entrusted to your care.
16. “When pastors fail to pray during their weekly public gatherings, they miss a huge opportunity to model for their members how to pray for one another.”
17. The pastoral prayer allows us to pray about biblical burdens, for specific needs, for specific people (including sick and suffering), and can be tailored to fit specific occasions. Beneficial to pray for evangelistic efforts, other local churches, government, mission efforts.
18. “Praying for these needs publicly also helps the congregation be aware of what is happening in the life of the church and community and allows the pastors to model how the congregation can spiritually understand these issues and pray for these needs.”
19. Schedule time monthly or weekly to pray for the flock with your elders.
20. A question to regularly ask is “Are we praying for those outside of our flock?” It is good to pray that God will use our people to fulfil the commission to reach the nations. “Because we are wired to forget the world, we should use our prayers for our flock to nudge them to engage with the universal church and learn to expand their vision of what God can and will do.”
21. Spurgeon: “The preacher who neglects to pray much must be very careless about his ministry.”
22. “When you sense the desire to pray, respond quickly to that soft voice in your heart. Over time, you will learn to develop a habit of prayer, and prayer will become a greater priority in your life. Create daily disciplines that systematically enable you to pray for all of your people. And involve others in this work.”